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Trouble Cycling Shrimp Tank


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I have been cycling a fishless planted tank for 4 weeks now with Dr Tim’s Ammonia and Fritz Zyme 7. Ammonia was at 2 ppm, nitrite 0. Ammonia started dropping and nitrite started increasing to 3-4 ppm. Finally ammonia went to 0 and then nitrite started dropping. Yesterday both ammonia and nitrite were at 0. I did a full dose of Dr Tim’s Ammonia as instructed. Today I tested and ammonia was still at 0. I thought the tank had cycled but when I tested for nitrite it had gone up to 1 ppm. I don’t know what happened, I never had this problem before! Should I dose more ammonia or what? I have a bottle of atm colony is it too late to try it?
All help greatly appreciated!!

 

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On 6/7/2023 at 6:36 PM, CatherineD said:

I thought the tank had cycled but when I tested for nitrite it had gone up to 1 ppm. I don’t know what happened, I never had this problem before! Should I dose more ammonia or what? I have a bottle of atm colony is it too late to try it?

Well you're seeing nitrite, so the cycle has started in the right way.

What is your filtration, what is your PH and KH in the tank?  If you're not seeing any ammonia, you can double check the results right after you add in the liquid ammonia using a different test method.  Secondly, you can take a water sample to the fish store and have them test it for you as well.

When I setup a new tank, I literally just set it up, add air, and make sure water is moving.  That first week or two you can just let that run and let the tank get used to being an aquarium.  Think of it as a leak test, but moreso you're just conditioning the sponge, the equipment, verifying everything works.  I add in some fish food and just let the filtration mechanically do it's thing.  After 3-4 weeks of this, that is when I bust out the test kit and see what I see.  A lot of the method here is time and patience.  Unfortunately you might be doing everything flawlessly, but just need to give the filtration a bit of time.

There isn't going to be an intense bioload on a shrimp tank.  The goal right now is going to be letting things run, grow some diatom algae, aufwuchs, and bacteria on surfaces so that when the shrimp are added to the tank they have places to graze on and ease into their new surroundings.

I would take the time right now to verify your GH and KH as well.  Beyond having a filter and good oxygenation, those two parameters for me have been critical to success.

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At this stage I'd add some bottled bacteria and some plants. Both will take up the ammonia and nitrite. I also like to keep a nerite in with my shrimp as well.  Both the shrimp and the beneficial bacteria will benefit from the nerite's waste, and the nerite will help keep your glass clean.  It's easy to keep the nerite fed as well, because when shrimp eat, they pick at the food and it distributes and lands on surfaces, which the nerite will graze on.

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On 6/8/2023 at 3:52 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Well you're seeing nitrite, so the cycle has started in the right way.

What is your filtration, what is your PH and KH in the tank?  If you're not seeing any ammonia, you can double check the results right after you add in the liquid ammonia using a different test method.  Secondly, you can take a water sample to the fish store and have them test it for you as well.

When I setup a new tank, I literally just set it up, add air, and make sure water is moving.  That first week or two you can just let that run and let the tank get used to being an aquarium.  Think of it as a leak test, but moreso you're just conditioning the sponge, the equipment, verifying everything works.  I add in some fish food and just let the filtration mechanically do it's thing.  After 3-4 weeks of this, that is when I bust out the test kit and see what I see.  A lot of the method here is time and patience.  Unfortunately you might be doing everything flawlessly, but just need to give the filtration a bit of time.

There isn't going to be an intense bioload on a shrimp tank.  The goal right now is going to be letting things run, grow some diatom algae, aufwuchs, and bacteria on surfaces so that when the shrimp are added to the tank they have places to graze on and ease into their new surroundings.

I would take the time right now to verify your GH and KH as well.  Beyond having a filter and good oxygenation, those two parameters for me have been critical to success.

This is a Fishless,  Planted tank. The tank has been cycling for 4+ weeks. 
Ammonia and Nitrite went to 0 two days ago. I did a full dose of ammonia again as instructed. Ammonia was 0 the next day but, nitrite went to 1.0 ppm. 
Today ammonia is still 0 and nitrite is 0.25 ppm. 
Since I already had the nitrite spike and I am at the end of my cycle, I don’t understand why nitrite went up and now it’s going down again. Should I add more ammonia, do a water change or what? 
Tank is already starting to show algae!
Here are the parameters: 

API test kit - ph - 7.7-7.8, ammonia - 0, nitrite - 0.25, nitrate - 20-30, GH - 6, KH - 5. 
Aquarium co op test strips - nitrate- 10, nitrite-0, GH- 75-150, KH- 80-120, PH- 7.2-7.6, Chlorine-0. I don’t understand this test.

 

 

 

 

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On 6/8/2023 at 9:44 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

At this stage I'd add some bottled bacteria and some plants. Both will take up the ammonia and nitrite. I also like to keep a nerite in with my shrimp as well.  Both the shrimp and the beneficial bacteria will benefit from the nerite's waste, and the nerite will help keep your glass clean.  It's easy to keep the nerite fed as well, because when shrimp eat, they pick at the food and it distributes and lands on surfaces, which the nerite will graze on.

I have been using bottled bacteria. I don’t know if I should add ammonia again. 
Trying to find out if I should do a water change. Tank is already starting to show algae. 
Tank was at the end of cycle Nitrite and Ammonia 0 until I did a full dose of Ammonia as instructed, then nitrite went up to 1.0 ppm but, ammonia stayed at 0 yesterday. Now today Nitrite is 0.25. and Ammonia is 0.
Should I do a water change and add more ammonia or leave it alone? 
I will check out nitrite snails. Thanks!

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On 6/8/2023 at 10:58 AM, CatherineD said:

Should I add more ammonia, do a water change or what? 

Correct / yes. Basically, treat it like it's a tank. Do your normal maintenance, change water. Siphon if you see debris. Scrape the front grass.

Let's say you add ammonia 2-4 days a week, even just once a week should be fine. You can transition over to a pinch of food as well if you'd like. You'd normally feed shrimp every other day (or less food daily) and replicating that with food or ammonia would be fine. The food will sit and create ammonia so I've only ever needed to feed the tank 1-2x a week.

On 6/8/2023 at 11:11 AM, CatherineD said:

Now today Nitrite is 0.25. and Ammonia is 0.

What is your nitrate?

Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate

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On 6/8/2023 at 2:18 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

Correct / yes. Basically, treat it like it's a tank. Do your normal maintenance, change water. Siphon if you see debris. Scrape the front grass.

Let's say you add ammonia 2-4 days a week, even just once a week should be fine. You can transition over to a pinch of food as well if you'd like. You'd normally feed shrimp every other day (or less food daily) and replicating that with food or ammonia would be fine. The food will sit and create ammonia so I've only ever needed to feed the tank 1-2x a week.

What is your nitrate?

Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate

I think you have the best idea! I did a full dose of ammonia on 6/6, dosed to 2 ppm, next day ammonia 0, but nitrite went to 0.25 from 0 ppm.  
I dosed another full dose ammonia 6/8 to 2 ppm and today my ammonia 0, nitrite 0.50. 
I will check again tomorrow and do a water change about 30%. 
My readings today are: ph -7.7-7.8, ammonia- 0, nitrite- 0.50, nitrate 25-30 ppm. 
I have algae on the glass walls. I think the tank cycled and I missed it!
If nitrite is 0 ( for the second time) I will not add anymore ammonia. 
I’m going to just remove algae and clean up the tank and start putting fish food instead of ammonia or use my bottle of atm colony and transfer my shrimp.

I am transferring my red cherries to a larger tank, they are fine in the tank they are in. I have had them 4 years, so they have outgrown their current tank!

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FWIW in my experience the bacteria that get rid of nitrItes take the longest to build up - the reading will hover around .25, just like yours. Then when I get it down to zero and gradually add fish, it might go up to .25 again as the tank balances to the new bioload. I do a water change, add Fritzyme 7, and monitor. This level isn't really harmful, at least from what I've seen in my tanks. I just make sure it doesn't go above that and within a couple weeks everything balances out again. 

Do you have anything from your established tank that you can add to the new tank? Rocks, plants, filter media, etc will all help that tank cycle. 

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On 6/9/2023 at 5:07 PM, MattyM said:

FWIW in my experience the bacteria that get rid of nitrItes take the longest to build up - the reading will hover around .25, just like yours. Then when I get it down to zero and gradually add fish, it might go up to .25 again as the tank balances to the new bioload. I do a water change, add Fritzyme 7, and monitor. This level isn't really harmful, at least from what I've seen in my tanks. I just make sure it doesn't go above that and within a couple weeks everything balances out again. 

Do you have anything from your established tank that you can add to the new tank? Rocks, plants, filter media, etc will all help that tank cycle. 

I am transferring the plants, rocks and filter media, etc from their established tank to the new one. I already have plants from my main show tank in there. 
I have been using Fritz Zyme 7, whenever I dose ammonia I add it. I am debating on just doing a big water change and using ATM BS Colony and adding the shrimp if this keeps up!
I haven’t cycled a tank in years but I never went through all this! 
5 weeks ago when I started I dosed ammonia to 2 ppm and it stayed at that. Ammonia finally dropped and nitrite spiked to 3 ppm. Nitrite dropped and ammonia and nitrite were at 0. It seems whenever I dose Ammonia the nitrite goes up but ammonia processes 2 ppm overnight to 0 ppm.

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On 6/9/2023 at 5:07 PM, MattyM said:

FWIW in my experience the bacteria that get rid of nitrItes take the longest to build up - the reading will hover around .25, just like yours. Then when I get it down to zero and gradually add fish, it might go up to .25 again as the tank balances to the new bioload. I do a water change, add Fritzyme 7, and monitor. This level isn't really harmful, at least from what I've seen in my tanks. I just make sure it doesn't go above that and within a couple weeks everything balances out again. 

Do you have anything from your established tank that you can add to the new tank? Rocks, plants, filter media, etc will all help that tank cycle. 

Tank is doing great! Ammonia and Nitrite at 0 for 2 days now. 
Did a 60% water change, ph -7.6, ammonia -0, nitrite -0, nitrate -20-25, GH-7, KH -3, tds -249. Will do another water change and keep checking daily!

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On 6/9/2023 at 4:34 PM, CatherineD said:

I think you have the best idea! I did a full dose of ammonia on 6/6, dosed to 2 ppm, next day ammonia 0, but nitrite went to 0.25 from 0 ppm.  
I dosed another full dose ammonia 6/8 to 2 ppm and today my ammonia 0, nitrite 0.50. 
I will check again tomorrow and do a water change about 30%. 
My readings today are: ph -7.7-7.8, ammonia- 0, nitrite- 0.50, nitrate 25-30 ppm. 
I have algae on the glass walls. I think the tank cycled and I missed it!
If nitrite is 0 ( for the second time) I will not add anymore ammonia. 
I’m going to just remove algae and clean up the tank and start putting fish food instead of ammonia or use my bottle of atm colony and transfer my shrimp.

I am transferring my red cherries to a larger tank, they are fine in the tank they are in. I have had them 4 years, so they have outgrown their current tank!

Ammonia and Nitrite - 0 for the last 2 days! I did a 60% water change. Today’s readings. PH -7.6, ammonia -0, nitrite -0, nitrate -20-25, GH -7, KH -3, TDS -249.  Going to do another water change and monitor everyday!
 

 

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On 6/11/2023 at 4:56 PM, CatherineD said:

Tank is doing great! Ammonia and Nitrite at 0 for 2 days now. 
Did a 60% water change, ph -7.6, ammonia -0, nitrite -0, nitrate -20-25, GH-7, KH -3, tds -249. Will do another water change and keep checking daily!

I believe the cycle is complete, but the ph is kinda high for shrimp 🦐 and my plants are looking a little yellow. 
l only leave the light on for 6 hours a day. Fed them 1 pump easy green a few days ago, thought it might help. 
Today’s parameter: PH - 7.7-7.8, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 10-20.

What’s the best way to drop the PH. I have to start moving my red cherries to the new tank! The nitrates in their current tank are too high 20-30 ppm, and I’m doing water changes.

 

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On 6/14/2023 at 1:55 PM, CatherineD said:

Fed them 1 pump easy green a few days ago

what size tank? (my apologies if you've already specified).

As far as the PH issue.  Test KH and GH and then report those back.  PH is tied to the KH, so you have to consider those two hardness parameters unfortunately.  I don't think it is too high to move them at all or anything, but it would be best to verify the parameters with a liquid test kit.

 

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On 6/14/2023 at 9:28 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

what size tank? (my apologies if you've already specified).

As far as the PH issue.  Test KH and GH and then report those back.  PH is tied to the KH, so you have to consider those two hardness parameters unfortunately.  I don't think it is too high to move them at all or anything, but it would be best to verify the parameters with a liquid test kit.

 

I did a water change about 35-40% and refilled the tank with 25% from my current shrimp tank.
Added 1/4c of atm colony, more plants from established shrimp tank and some shrimp 🦐, I want to see how they do! 
Parameters now are: PH - 7.6, PH-H - 7.4, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 10-20, GH - 7, KH - 3. 
I hope the shrimp like it!
 

On 6/15/2023 at 4:30 PM, CatherineD said:

I did a water change about 35-40% and refilled the tank with 25% from my current shrimp tank.
Added 1/4c of atm colony, more plants from established shrimp tank and some shrimp 🦐, I want to see how they do! 
Parameters now are: PH - 7.6, PH-H - 7.4, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 10-20, GH - 7, KH - 3. 
I hope the shrimp like it!
 

It’s a 10 gallon tank!

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Did a 6 day blackout, opened tank yesterday. All fish and plants look really good! 
Now to keep it that way! Will send a pic when all is done!

I did a 60% water change, waited a couple of hours and turned the lights on low for 3 hours. I’m going to turn them on for 3 hours a day for 4 days.

Now I need a fertilizer schedule for the tank (36 gallon bow front) with low to medium light plants. I believe the algae problem was from too many ferts and not sure about the Hygger 24/7 sunrise to sunset lighting being a problem.
I have to figure out which ferts are the best for plants. 
I have just about all Seachem ferts, and now I have Easy Green and Easy Carbon
I don’t know what to use, how often and how much!
 

I haven’t cleaned the filter sponges yet, I read to wait 3 to 4 days. Think I will clean them tomorrow. I also have to add ferts.  
What do you think I should add?  
Should I put the fish back on their regular schedule now?

By the way! New Shrimp tank is up and running! I transferred all red cherries and plants on Friday! So far, so good and  I added some atm colony.😄

Tank has been running 4 days now, and shrimp seem happy. I am feeding them sparingly and only running their light 3 hours a day. I will ramp them up to 6 tomorrow.

Thanks again for all your help!!!

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On 6/19/2023 at 1:25 PM, CatherineD said:

I haven’t cleaned the filter sponges yet, I read to wait 3 to 4 days. Think I will clean them tomorrow. I also have to add ferts.  
What do you think I should add?  

Clean the filters both times.  Now. then again in a few days!

On 6/19/2023 at 1:25 PM, CatherineD said:

I have to figure out which ferts are the best for plants. 
I have just about all Seachem ferts, and now I have Easy Green and Easy Carbon
I don’t know what to use, how often and how much!

Start with easy green, one dose per week.  The easy carbon you would use daily during this time just because you're really trying to attack the algae.  You can also use it as every other day if you're concerned with the algaecide affecting sensitive species.

I have not used Easy Carbon in my shrimp tank, but it's clearly labelled on the bottle that it is safe and it indicates use directions for "sensitive species".  I have started to use the Easy carbon externally using this method:
 

 

On 6/19/2023 at 1:25 PM, CatherineD said:

Should I put the fish back on their regular schedule now?

Yes, there is no reason to alter anything, just treat it like a normal tank.  Laser focus on removing that algae! 🙂

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Did what you said cleaned all filter material, dosed Easy Green and will dose Easy Carbon everyday! Thanks for the video, I will use it for all driftwood and rocks with any plants attached.

Plants look much better but, still see some algae on Anubias,. I think I will just replace the infected plants. I am going to cut them short to remove what algae I can see on them first!

Sending pics!

Before and After

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All 3 Before and After pictures 

IMG_0945.jpeg

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IMG_0955.jpeg

IMG_0956.jpeg

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Yes! 🙌 You know your stuff!!!👏🤗 

You are my HERO!!!, my go to person!!! Thank you so much for all your advice!!! 
What a difference the blackout made!!!

 I cut off all the leaves I thought were dead or damaged, only a few. I don’t think I will buy new ones now.
I’m going to keep up with everything you told me to do! 
I will keep you updated!
Thanks again!!!!!!!🥰🥰🥰

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23 minutes ago, nabokovfan87 said:

That's too kind! 😂

I've had my fair share of algae issues, it's very awesome that you were able to get ahead of it! 

I’m not being kind, just truthful! You really know what you’re doing! 👏👍

Sending you pics of the red cherry shrimp tank. Water is a little cloudy, but they seem to like it so far. 
I used a layered substrate, stratum on bottom, topped with eco complete, then topped with black sand. 
I have water lettuce floating on top of tank. I’m using aquarium co op sponge filter. 
I did dose one pump easy green and easy carbon.

Once I clear the water I will send better pictures!IMG_0958.jpeg.c3d33a754c532edca9165c9bbc2d492a.jpegIMG_0959.jpeg.8493696fe236cfad68bf7014f5b91af4.jpeg

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23 hours ago, nabokovfan87 said:

That's too kind! 😂

I've had my fair share of algae issues, it's very awesome that you were able to get ahead of it! 

 

23 hours ago, CatherineD said:

I’m not being kind, just truthful! You really know what you’re doing! 👏👍

Sending you pics of the red cherry shrimp tank. Water is a little cloudy, but they seem to like it so far. 
I used a layered substrate, stratum on bottom, topped with eco complete, then topped with black sand. 
I have water lettuce floating on top of tank. I’m using aquarium co op sponge filter. 
I did dose one pump easy green and easy carbon.

Once I clear the water I will send better pictures!IMG_0958.jpeg.c3d33a754c532edca9165c9bbc2d492a.jpegIMG_0959.jpeg.8493696fe236cfad68bf7014f5b91af4.jpeg

I just tested the 36 gallon aquarium. KH reading is low only 2 ppm. 
GH is 10, TDS is 259.  PH is 7.3-7.5.
Ammonia and Nitrite are 0, and Nitrate is 10-15 ppm. 
Could it be the Phosguard or Easy Carbon that’s causing low readings.

 I have crushed coral but I don’t want to raise GH, can I use baking soda?

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On 6/21/2023 at 12:29 PM, CatherineD said:

Once I clear the water I will send better pictures!IMG_0958.jpeg.c3d33a754c532edca9165c9bbc2d492a.jpeg

That Anubias! Hahaha. Ah I love it. Such a cool plant. That piece right next to the bowl is my favorite.

2 hours ago, CatherineD said:

KH reading is low only 2 ppm. 
GH is 10, TDS is 259.  PH is 7.3-7.5.
Ammonia and Nitrite are 0, and Nitrate is 10-15 ppm. 
Could it be the Phosguard or Easy Carbon that’s causing low readings.

It's likely the stratum. Over time it will stop pulling the minerals. Essentially add in some CC or something to the filter and then that will let the soil balance out. KH being that low, PH being that high is a little weird, but it does happen. It's not required, but it might be helpful to add an air stone to the right corner of the aquarium.

2 hours ago, CatherineD said:

 I have crushed coral but I don’t want to raise GH, can I use baking soda?

I could be wrong, but I don't believe CC will impact the GH too much if at all.

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1 hour ago, nabokovfan87 said:

That Anubias! Hahaha. Ah I love it. Such a cool plant. That piece right next to the bowl is my favorite.

It's likely the stratum. Over time it will stop pulling the minerals. Essentially add in some CC or something to the filter and then that will let the soil balance out. KH being that low, PH being that high is a little weird, but it does happen. It's not required, but it might be helpful to add an air stone to the right corner of the aquarium.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe CC will impact the GH too much if at all.

The readings I sent are for the 36 gallon bow front with the algae issue. Not the Shrimp tank.
I know I put the message in the wrong place!
The tank has small river rock substrate not stratum. I don’t understand the PH or KH either! 
I never had readings like that before. I think I will remove the phosguard and use easy carbon - 1 pump every other day, after a water change, until I can figure it out!

 I’ll try some CC in my filter. I bought some from aquarium co op awhile ago and never used it!
You don’t like the use of Baking Soda?
 

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